It was an eventful day on the boulevards and avenues of Twitter last night, as we all gathered at our balconies and hollered at everyone else hollering, to the tune of one of the main templates of the site:
‘HEY, DID YOU KNOW THAT THING WE THOUGHT WAS THIS THING IS ACTUALLY THIS OTHER THING?!’
The Twitter agora thrives on this sort of stuff. It bustles with people ‘discovering’ and ‘re-discovering’ and ‘re-contextualising’ things. It’s a fascinating sight to behold. I’m on Twitter, but the place often makes me feel a bit nauseous. Not just cos of the whole ‘Eyooooo, who wants Nazis? Because we got ‘em! Seriously, a whole bunch of ‘em. Bug eyed little Twitlers, running all over the place’ thing. It’s the general level of discourse that gets to me. There are a lot of amazing people on there that I follow but in general the nature of the platform itself encourages three things: surface-level, outraged sizzle-takes on politics; righteous call-outs based around something someone once said a decade ago; and—the one closest to last night’s hullabaloo—‘Hey, remember how good this thing from, like, five years ago is??’
But then again! Just so we crack a window and waft that stench of hypocrisy out: Hi, hello, it’s me, the bloke who wrote an appreciation post about Zodiac on its whopping tenth anniversary. And a similar thing about 1995’s, Die Hard With a Vengeance. AND a twentieth anniversary post for Grosse Point Blank. These ain’t exactly ancient classics is what I’m saying. So I’m not judging anyone, or making a value judgement. Just saying that Twitter seems to encourage a relatively short-term reflexive nostalgia vibe.
And I guess in line with that was last night’s revelation that the ‘nodding guy’ meme, a very often used reaction gif, is actually Robert Redford in the 1972 Sydney Pollack western, Jeremiah Johnson, and not—as many had apparently believed—Zach Galifianakis.
today i learned a not insignificant number of my colleagues never knew Robert Redford is the “nodding guy meme.” deeply disturbinghttps://t.co/qsthjcjLni— Katherine Krueger (@kath_krueger) July 9, 2019
The man featured in the famous “nod of approval” meme? It’s Robert Redford. https://t.co/wbvbYb1hLk— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) July 9, 2019
And so Twitter, so often used by many to point out how great X movie from the last decade or so was, and by others beseeching people to watch movies that existed prior to the year 2000, was abuzz.
Anyone that didn't know this is Robert Redford - or worse, thought it was f-ing Zach Gallifanakis…— Dr Arnold T Blumberg (@DoctoroftheDead) July 9, 2019
…I can't. I just can't with you. Jeez, honestly people. Things existed before 2009. pic.twitter.com/wk1RpOXaKr
I freaked out when I saw Robert Redford was trending, and then I saw the reason is enough morons didn't know this is him: pic.twitter.com/Hf5Uid1UzA— Golden Girls Quotes (@GoldenGirls85) July 9, 2019
me seeing people confuse zach galifinakis for robert redford pic.twitter.com/SqryUzCv5N— lindsey romain (@lindseyromain) July 10, 2019
I had no idea that this was Robert Redford. pic.twitter.com/hQJS48rJMy— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) July 10, 2019
so, you've decided to confuse Zack Galifinakis with Robert Redford pic.twitter.com/zI597do3wg— Michael (@reitercmichael) July 10, 2019
unfortunately, there is as yet no way to monetize having always known that gif was Robert Redford— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) July 9, 2019
Yes. Because it's Robert Redford. pic.twitter.com/b7S2C5lc3m— Scarred for Life (@ScarredForLife2) July 9, 2019
People need to watch better movies, especially if they don't know who Robert Redford is. SMH, Thinking this is Zach Galifianakis. pic.twitter.com/ITsGrqdtyd— Zach Stallings (@Zach_Stal) July 9, 2019
wait is robert redford the hairless cat or the pretty one pic.twitter.com/z4Xzw7OgWr— the skinless bear in midsomm (@RealToddHaynes) July 10, 2019
Eyerolling over the Robert Redford GIF revelation isn’t snobbery or shaming people for not having seen Jeremiah Johnson. It’s about knowing where your food comes from, even a little bit.— Matt Patches (@misterpatches) July 9, 2019
Did you know that this nodding guy is Robert Redford?! pic.twitter.com/inVVbT2tkX— Steven Santos (@stevensantos) July 9, 2019
Most people don’t know but this is also Robert Redford pic.twitter.com/gcUfbqjhpn— Mike Camerlengo (@MCamerlengo) July 9, 2019
Elderly Twitter flipping out because some people thought these two men resembled each other.— ☆ LUNA ☆ (@IamGru8) July 10, 2019
Robert Redford & Zach Galifianakis pic.twitter.com/6BbIjgbQOK
I broke this infuriating news a year and a half ago, thank you very much. https://t.co/7q2QQpgcqB— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) July 10, 2019
Here’s my confession: I didn’t know that was Robert Redford either, not until about two years or so ago. Now, I consider myself a film fan. Shit, I get paid to write about movies sometimes. And I’ve a decent command of the classics. And I’ve seen a bunch of Sydney Pollack films. And and I’m also a fan of Robert Redford. But, I’ve still never seen Jeremiah Johnson.
I didn’t think it was Zach Galifianakis, mostly because it’s pretty evident from the look of the clip that it’s from a time when Galifianakis would’ve still just been a child. But let’s be honest: It doesn’t not look like an adult Galifianakis does it?
So what’ve we learned today, kids? What, in the end, is the take away here?
Dammed if I know, but while I’m being confessional and laying it all out there I’m gonna go ahead and just post a few more of my favourite, oft-used, gif memes, the origin of which I know absolutely nothing about:
And here, here is my possibly most used gif of all time, featuring one of my favourite actors of all time. I am spiritually bonded to this loop. And I have zero idea where it’s from.
Sure I could just stagger over to KnowYourMeme and feast upon the necessary knowledge therein. But also?
Header Image Source: Warner Bros.